Old Age Markers
23 Dec 2007
Why do men growing older get grey hair and bald pates?
Why does their ear-hairs , nostril-hairs , eyebrows and pubic hairs grow much longer than younger men’s ?
Why are old men smelly ?
Involuntary Altruism .
We know that evolutionary mechanisms operate even after the last child , because we have evidence of the GrandMother effect . Older Females in a family (ie with the same genes as their offspring) have evolved menopause and an extended lifespan . More and healthier grandchildren survive with a grandmother . The mechanism is part of general evolutionary theory .
So what about old men ?
They are sacrificial old goats !
A family fleeing predators would have a markedly better chance of its genes surviving if the older males are marked for predators . The predators gain by not having to expend too much energy . But the evolutionary kicker is that predators on hominids are usually of the big cat family . Their cubs have to be taught to hunt on easy prey . Older , slower , weaker hominid males are recognized by their markers .
So , they learn from early on what the markers are . A tacit bargain was struck .
The Leopard-class of big cats specialized in hominids . A saber-toothed variety evolved pari-passu with homonins . A desperate arms-race of survival ensued . I refer you to the tooth-holes in the skulls of some unlucky homonins found fossilized in Africa . The end-cat was a large black leopard with widely spaced saber-teeth and a high intelligence . Black because it was a night-hunter (when homonins nested) , widely-spaced saber-teeth to fit the growing skulls of homonins , high intelligence to keep up with the growing intelligence of their prey . But they did not have hands . They were exterminated , probably by concerted human effort . The last fossil record found was about 200 000 BCE , roughly contemporaneous with MkI Humans . The development of weaving probably had more to with their demise than anything else .
The present survivor of this class (the spotted leopard) preferred baboons and monkeys , and thus survived .
This went on long enough (estimated 7 million years) for a true instinctive fear to have been programmed into the amygdala(like for spiders and snakes) .
Go to the Zoo and look at a black leopard .
If he looks at you , you feel a frisson of fear . This is your amygdala kicking in . (You don’t feel the same looking at a lion .)
Of course , the black leopard is a pussy-cat compared to the previous terrors .
But , we can create an ideal hyper-image (idoru) .
A Black cat-head , broad with very widely spaced reflecting golden eyes , widely spaced saber-teeth . I suspect that saber-teeth wider than the eyes will immediately kick in the amygdala responses . The same effect is noticeable in horror-movies . The ratio of width-of –mouth to width-of-eyes seems to play a critical role .
So , if you have eyes close together and a wide mouth , do not show your teeth . The response is not rational , but instinctive .
Psychopaths are reputed to feel no fear . Is this true a for genetically programmed response like this ? There might be some therapeutic benefit in making psychopaths or extreme sociopaths feel terror . The mirror-neuron structures of empathy that should have formed in childhood can then be reconstructed .
To resume the argument :
Ropes and nets woven from plants by hands negated physical strength . Hence , MkI human males and females were roughly the same size and strength . Unfortunately , these fibres left no physical record until the impressions left in ceramics circa 30 000BCE . But we know that clothing became widespread as a result of the Toba-winter (72 000 BCE) . There was no time to invent new technologies , so old weaving technology was adapted to provide insulation in the survivors .
The old-age markers .
The smelly bit first (ie the evolutionary oldest)
The hairs around the glands extruding smelly compound grow longer with age .
Normally , body hair grows a certain length , then stops , dies and is replaced . Normal body hair around glands are crinkled , twisted and convoluted to give maximum surface-area to the scent-molecules . Pubic hair is the best example .
Ears : Tufts growing out of the ears broadcast the earwax scents. Also , hearing gets harder .
Nose : Nose hairs are unique to humans and supposedly evolved due to the smoke-filled environments after the usage of fire . The effect is to capture molecules on exhalation , store them , then release them on inhalation . In other words , a short term memory . The vomenerosal organs in the upper palate and connected to the nose are also connect to very ancient parts of the brain concerned with identity . Pheromones and other chemicals (like antibodies) extruded by the body are stored by the nostril hairs and fed back to the vomenerosal sensors . The body is continually reminding itself of its identity . This also happens to be the definition of self-awareness .
The intriguing speculation is that this method of base-line identity setting extends to the immune system . Evidence from yoga not only indicates self-awareness shifting due to concentrations of “I am I” pheromones by breathing through the nostrils , but that the immune self-definition is affected as well .
The Rapunzel Syndrome .
Too small a concentration of nasal hairs causes insufficient self-definition . Auto-immune diseases like arthritis , asthma , diabetes etc follow , as well as meme-diseases like low self-esteem , drug-abuse . Note the effect of cocaine sniffing on personality coherence .
Too large a concentration of nasal hairs like in old men , makes the person very self-assured with “presence” , the presence being molecules broadcast . “Charge! and damn the torpedoes .”
Notice that breathing masks like worn in very cold or very hot climates have similar concentrating effect , but weaker by an order of about 10 . (Norse , burkas,etc)
Cheap and easy . Noseplugs mimicking dense nosehairs will do the trick .
I am actually embarrassed that nothing more complicated is needed .
Noseplugs made of coarse organic wool should do the trick .
Even cottonwool will work , though it is a bit too dense .
The poor man’s noseplug . Notice that individuals with moustaches always were always self-assured ,even if they were completely wrong . Societies with moustaches were losers . Celtic tribes had moustaches . So did Hitler and Stalin . Breathing in their own definitions of I all the time explains a lot .
Note the law-enforcement fashion for moustaches .
It is not a fashion , but a statement .
Eyebrows have a long and honorable history of enabling mammal survival , going back to the dinosaur days . The eyebrow is dense with sebaceaous glands , pumped out onto the eyebrows and spread onto the environment . For a burrowing rodent , it was essential to know where it had been (identity and location) , as well as who had been there before and how long ago . Refer to muskrats ,beavers , etc . Humans do the same . This is why dogs jump up and try to lick your face . They are not trying to lick your face . They are trying to lick your eyebrows . Your scent-identity is being broadcast all the time by the glands in your eyebrows . Hence old men with bushy eyebrows .
But , while this would have been fatal when lots of predators were around , in “civilized” surroundings this gives the person a certain edge as being wise .
The normal heat-envelope around the body ensures that most of these pheromones go upwards , but standing on your head a lot will change that . Sigh . Another yoga shibboleth bites the pheromone . A full head covering like middle-age armour would have exaggerated effects on self-esteem .
Ice-hockey masks ? I rest my case.
A Christmas Present :
Millions of dollars can be made by an Eyebrow Scent . You owe me 5% for the idea , whoever you are . I hereby claim intellectual property right on the idea at Cape Town on 24 December 2007 AD .
The act of kissing only exists to bring the nose and eyebrows into proximity . Lots of compatibility signals ensues .
Applied scents are lies . Will an Eyebrow Scent significantly change human society ?
No . But you can make a shitload of money out of it , since nobody has thought of it before .
Armpit hairs .
Not much to be said here . Too fat , and they are worn away . Otherwise long and straggly .
Pubic hairs .
Pubic hairs in men grow long and straggly in old age . These capture more urine scented molecules and sets him up for a predator .
Grey Top Hair
As you can see , changing the colour of
hair to grey is a long range signal to a predator . This was sufficient at first .
Bald Pate .
Since females can also go grey , albeit later than males , the bald pate evolved to signal predators . Imagine a family running through the long grass with the cats in pursuit . They see a flashing bald pate bobbing up and down in the grass . They know that this is an old hominin male . Note that females do not go bald .
Self-referencing scents .
As you can gather from the above , the very definition a person makes of itself down to immune-level can be determined by scent-feedbacks .
As I promised , smelly old men .
Barber pubic hair and underarm hair to about 2 cm .
Bad feedback mechanisms are halted . Simple noseplugs restores some degree of selfpride .
Always shave .
The same holds for normal ages (20-40) . Variants of ice-hockey masks where the top holes are blocked might be considered .
And so it goes .